Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Foodventures: Nook Bistro and Eating at the Bar

About a month ago I had dinner with a friend at Nook Bistro. It's tucked away in the corner of an unassuming strip mall (quite literally the "nook" of the plaza), but the interior of the restaurant is modern and rich in wood tones giving the space a warm and cozy feel. I missed the opportunity to make a reservation and instantly regretted my oversight when we arrived and saw that every table was filled. It's such a hidden little place, who would have thought it would be so packed on a Tuesday night?

Thankfully, the waiter kindly informed us that there was space at the bar where they also served the full dinner menu. Usually eating at the bar would not be my first choice (except perhaps if I were at a sushi bar enjoying omakase). Eating at the bar reminds me of communal dining tables, which seem to be a growing trend in restaurants lately; I can appreciate the concept, but I just personally much prefer the more intimate setting of separate tables especially when I am catching up with a friend and looking forward to sharing some uninterrupted conversation.

Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised by our dinner-at-the-bar experience at Nook Bistro. The food was great (we especially enjoyed  the kurobuta pork belly with tomatillo), the service didn't miss a beat, and best of all we still had wonderful, unbridled conversation all dinner long. Perhaps my prejudice against eating at the bar is amiss? Come to think of it, one of the best meals Will and I had on our honeymoon in Hawaii was also served to us at the bar; again, it was because the restaurant was wildly popular and we didn't make reservations...but afterwards we definitely understood why it was packed; the food was fantastic and we had the added bonus of having refreshing drinks from the bartender right at our fingertips. Eating a full dinner at the bar can actually be quite a fine experience!

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